For the final part of our geographic year-end roundup, we focus on releases this year from Alberta, British Columbia, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. If you have suggestions of albums we haven’t listed and you think we should, tweet us @greatdkwonder and tell us the album, artist, and province, and we’ll check them out!
(There’s a Spotify playlist at the end of the article if you want to sample each album, or you can listen to full albums at the links provided. If you like any of the music, please 1) save the album to your Spotify account, and 2) consider buying the album and supporting the artist.)
Holly Blazina, Transcendencia (Alberta)
This tremendous flamenco album is an absolute delight. Never listened to flamenco before? Don’t let that stop you – you’ll be entranced by the music and especially by Holly Blazina’s mad guitar skills. (Read our interview with her here.)
Louise Burns, Young Mopes (British Columbia)
As I’ve noted elsewhere, I mostly missed the 1980s musically. But even I can catch the glimpses of that long-ago decade in Louise Burns’ latest album, which is another project that’s been on my player consistently for days now.
Rodney DeCroo, Old Tenement Man (British Columbia)
This fantastic album was released earlier this year – deep, challenging lyrics (no surprise, given that Rodney has also received acclaim as a poet) and superb songwriting characterize this excellent project. (Read our interview with Rodney here.)
The Dreadnoughts, Foreign Skies (British Columbia)
The Dreadnoughts’ first album in several years (and first primarily self-penned project) is a stunner – tackling the challenging theme of World War I and its impact on society, the album is by turns loud, boisterous, thoughtful, and harrowing. Highly recommended. (Read our interview with the band.)
Gentle Party, Jouska (British Columbia)
This band calls their style ‘avant chamber pop’ – and that’s an absolutely perfect description for this lovely album. Featuring harp, cello, and violin, they create a sound all their own that’s utterly wonderful.
Goldtop, You Possess Me (Alberta)
The debut full-length album from Alice Kos and Everett LaRoi is a terrific tour de force that’s evocative of some of the best pop music from the 1980s, with some excellently crunchy guitar thrown in for good measure.
Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer, Apocalipstick (British Columbia)
This album has been like musical crack for me since it came out earlier this year – it has consistently stayed on my commute playlist ever since. You can read our more detailed review here – but go listen to it now.
Hermitess, Hermitess (Alberta)
If you’re looking for something that’s both out of the ordinary and a soothing, ambient listen, here’s the album for you. This project from singer/songwriter/harpist Jennifer Crighton is a delight (and has made for great workday music for me this week).
Brett McCrady, Drifting Through the Ordinary (Alberta)
A terrific debut from a young singer/songwriter with (I hope) a bright future ahead of him, this album is an enjoyable pop/folk confection.
Declan O’Donovan, Broken Sky (Yukon)
I was won over by the album from my very first listen. Terrific piano playing, awesome singing, superb songwriting – this was, I freely admit, one of my favorite albums of the year. (Read our interview with Declan here.)
Over the Moon, Moondancer (Alberta)
This utterly lovely album is (I admit) one of my favorites this year. You can read my more detailed thoughts about it here.
Petunia & the Vipers, Lonesome Heavy and Lonesome (British Columbia)
I think Petunia & the Vipers may be the first group to make our year-end lists two years in a row… last year for Dead Bird on the Highway, and this year for the equally excellent (if darker) Lonesome Heavy and Lonesome. Their particular brand of twangy, folky, bluesy music full of Petunia’s signature yodeling is infectious. Highly recommended. (Read our album release interview here.)
Quantum Tangle, Shelter as You Go… (Northwest Territories)
This terrific album hopefully heralds a long and fruitful career for this pair – it’s an irresistible mix of influences, Native and Western, and a deeply reflective album as well. (Read our interview with Quantum Tangle here.)
The Raven & the Fox, The Raven & the Fox (Alberta)
A little folk, a little blues – this album, the first for this pairing of Julie Chang and Sean Isaac, is another in a string of really wonderful debut albums coming out of Alberta this year. They call this “love-inspired mountain music” – an apt description for an excellent album.
Josh Sahunta, Dissonance (Alberta)
This terrific debut EP heralds the start of a long, fruitful musical career, I hope, for Josh Sahunta. This is a great set of delectable pop songs with plenty of heart and depth. (Read our interview with Josh here.)
Steel & Timber, Everything You Own (Alberta)
Talk about skating in just under the wire – this album was released just over a week ago. (Thank heavens for Alberta Music’s listings of new releases!) This uptempo folk album will have you up and dancing in no time.
Tanglers, Spring Chicken (British Columbia)
This album by the self-proclaimed “family band” Tanglers was a fun surprise as I was researching to ensure I hadn’t missed anything for this year’s round of articles. It’s a little bit rock, a bit folk, and completely delightful.
Sam Tudor, Quotidian Dream (British Columbia)
This set of reflections on home, self, and the illusions we hold about each forms an excellent project, thought-provoking and eminently listenable. (It reminds me a bit of Andy Shauf’s The Party.)
Chad VanGaalen, Light Information (Alberta)
I have to admit that this isn’t the style of music to which I normally gravitate – but I can’t stop listening to this album. A bit folk, a lot indie, this is a mesmerizing set of songs that’s completely won me over.
Lindsey Walker, This Desolate Bliss (Alberta)
This is a superb album from a talented artist with a thoroughly powerful voice. I’m new to Lindsey’s work but this project ensures she’s going to be on my radar for years to come.
Winnie Brave, Cheap Gin (Alberta)
When we traveled up for the inaugural Sawdust City Music Festival, we unfortunately just missed hearing Winnie Brave – but this album ensures that we won’t make that mistake again. A great album with some tremendous singing.